Catholic Charities hosts over 60 refugees for annual Thanksgiving lunch

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CHICAGO — Nearly two weeks before Thanksgiving, dozens of people from different backgrounds took part Saturday in a special lunch.

For the last several years, Catholic Charities has played host to those who’ve come to the U.S. because of persecution, conflict and war at home.

Just a few weeks ago, Kurdish refugee Nabaz Sleman came to the city with his wife and their two young sons.

“My hometown is really close to Iran and it’s really not safe for us to be there, really,” Sleman said. “The situation is not stable and will not be stable and especially for interpreters and family of interpreters, it’s going to be dangerous.”

Last year, 130 refugees participated in the Thanksgiving meal. This year, it’s down to 65.

“Unfortunately, there’ve been a lot of budget cuts and unfortunately there has not been as many people allowed to come into the country as refugees ,” volunteer Judy Kendzior said. “So our program is smaller but it still thrives.”

Sleman agrees.

“Instead of fighting, sitting down and talking and sharing so I believe that’s the first step living together and accepting each other. for the inhabitants of this great land,” Sleman said. “So that’s what I believe is Thanksgiving.”

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